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IBTM 2019: Why a successful show is made through the pre and post show activity

Charlotte Podlewska, Business Development Manager for ConferenceLeeds, reflects on this year’s IBTM World and explains why the activity before and after the show is key to the success of attending businesses.

“As a team, ConferenceLeeds have been attending IBTM World in Barcelona for the past 5 years. We have recognised how much the show has grown in this time period and are delighted to be seeing new countries and destinations exhibiting every year. It truly is a show which remains a must for those within the global meetings industry - and it provides a real forum for facilitating important relationships.

This year we had some real highlights, and a successful show overall. We had three days of pre-booked appointments, a variety of walk-ups from MICE buyers, a great stand to showcase our destination and lots of networking opportunities. We saw many destinations bringing their A-game this year, with Norway perhaps making the most of an impact with their ice bar, which served drinks in huge cubes of ice alongside a brilliant DJ! We were also able to enjoy the show events, with the festival themed welcome event, fantastic Catalan food, a sweetie and popcorn buffet and carnival games for us all to enjoy.

However, as great as IBTM is whilst you’re there, the success of the show for each destination really is formed in both pre and post show activity, and this is something we have learned over the years. This year at IBTM, we met with 20 pre-matched appointments and had 28 overall appointments. This demonstrates the importance of all the pre-show work we do which ensures we get as many relevant appointments as possible in the diary, through a variety of activity that spans every channel, including driving traffic to our website, social media, PR and advertising.

We now have an IBTM specific programme of sales and marketing activity, with our team making contact with key international buyers or those that we have identified that we need to meet up with, around 6-8 weeks before the show. We have also learned to make the most of the appointment preference and match scheme, and this has proven to be really successful for us - with us seeing more relevant conference and meetings business appointments which really align with our venue portfolio here in Leeds. This isn’t just about personal contact but also making sure we deliver a completely integrated approach so our social media and website reflects what we’re aiming to achieve by attending the show.

The initial meetings, which we work so hard to secure, provide the perfect introduction, but to get real traction with these we find out exactly how Leeds as a conferencing destination may suit the buyer, and then the real work starts when we get back into the office and start to follow up with these appointments and match their requirements. It is during this follow up process where we’re able to really showcase what Leeds has to offer for their bespoke requirements, and we start this through a whole range of activity including strengthening those relationships with an initial personalised follow-up email which eventually provides a strong groundwork for the relationship overall.”

Consequently as a result of putting all this pre and post show activity in place one of the benefits we have seen is to host international buyers here in Leeds on their own educational trip showcasing our wealth of unique venues to this otherwise untapped audience.